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updated: 7/26/2011 6:26 PM

Elgin considers axing Centre and Hemmens advisory boards

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Elgin City Council members will discuss merging several boards and commissions at their committee of the whole meeting Wednesday in hopes of eliminating unnecessary positions and increasing efficiency.

Mayor David Kaptain is suggesting combining the Centre Advisory Board into the Parks and Recreation Board, and merging the Hemmens Advisory Board into the Cultural Arts Commission.

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He said the Centre and the Hemmens advisory boards both have had trouble getting enough members to meetings because they often simply don't have enough to talk about.

"If (members are) going to donate their time, they want it to be fulfilling and they want to be active," Kaptain said. "They don't want to waste their time."

Conditions have changed since the boards were created, making city officials think the four bodies should be reduced to two. All four are meant to provide recommendations to the City Council.

Because The Centre is under the authority of the Elgin Parks and Recreation Department anyway, officials think it makes sense to merge the two.

The merged board will maintain its size of eight members, even with the extra members coming over from The Centre's board. Two youth positions will be eliminated because they have been difficult to keep filled.

Director of Parks and Recreation Randy Reopelle said the teen perspective is important to the department, but staff members will instead get input from those participating in programs like the Teen Leaders Club.

"It's a similar capacity in a much more comfortable environment for them," Reopelle said.

The expanded Cultural Arts Commission will increase to 14 members from its current 10, under the proposal council members will consider. But with attrition, the board is planned to shrink back to 10 members by 2015.

Based on vacancies and board member interest, the size of the merged commissions is not expected to push anyone out who is still interested in serving, according to Kaptain.

"For people who want to serve the community, we want to accommodate them but also we want to honor their time," Reopelle said. "We think this will be a nice change for everybody."

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